The mix of live web-based coverage and delayed network telecasts of American Le Mans Series races may be controversial with fans, but the series says it is seeing big gains in viewing numbers from the package.
The Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at the iconic Wisconsin road course drew the ALMS's largest TV audience of the year and more viewers than any ALMS broadcast since the ABC network showing of the 2009 race at Long Beach. In fact, with more than 900,000 households tuned in, last weekend's show ranks as the second most-watched ALMS race in the last seven years.
“Our partnership with ABC and ESPN has delivered an incredible growth in audience, and therefore ROI, for all our auto manufacturer and tire manufacturer sponsors," said ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton. "We are blessed to have four tire partners and six prestigious auto manufacturers as official marketing partners. We've worked hard and taken a leadership role to create an ideal digital and TV platform. Our goal was to bring our brand of racing action – the cars, the technologies and the drivers – to the largest consumer audience possible. And while it's still early in the process, we believe it's working.”
With just two-thirds of the season completed, 200,000 more households have enjoyed the incredibly close racing offered by iconic ALMS cars like Aston Martins, Ferraris, BMW, Porsches, Corvettes and Mazdas than in all nine Series race broadcasts last year, the ALMS reports. With two ABC network broadcasts and one ESPN2 broadcast remaining this season, the series expects the platform will deliver more than triple the audience of 2010 for its sponsors.
Next up for the American Le Mans series presented by Tequila Patrón is the Baltimore Grand Prix, set for 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 3. The race will air on ABC, Sunday, Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. ET and 2 p.m. PT (check local listings) and be shown live (as will qualifying) in the U.S. on ESPN3.com or americanlemans.com outside the U.S.